A Drive To Remember

by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It was a sense awakening experience in the Golden State recently as MONARCH Magazine took part in the esteemed Monterey Car Week utilizing the impeccable Range Rover Sport SVR performance-enhanced sport utility vehicle. With 550 British steeds, adaptive dynamics, 21” alloy wheels tucked in 285/45R21 Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season rubber, roll stability control and dynamic stability control, the energetic SUV moves like Usain Bolt in Olympic displays of bravado.

The journey began in Santa Barbara where I spent a day at the impeccable Bacara Resort & Spa. I enjoyed the vacation-styled amenities, gourmet cuisine, and their breathtaking beachside pool. Furthermore, the property is outlined with running trails along the Pacific for individuals like myself who enjoy fitness and nature. The locale was also the central hub for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) as they made their latest models available for the 300-mile drive to Monterey by way of Highway 101. The mesmerizing fleet included the $170,995 Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic, Jaguar F-TYPE SVR Convertible, and the Range Rover Sport SVR.

SVO is the performance department of JLR and converts base vehicle models into superheroes utilizing seductive design components, increased power ranges, and palatial interior craftsmanship. With a potent 550-horsepower, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 that advances the SUV 0–60 mph in 4.5 blazing seconds, never did I tire from the journey! In fact, most of the enjoyment emanated from the thunderous harmony of the bright quad tailpipes and two-stage active sport exhaust. Trust me, the addictive fireworks at higher engine speeds are instant mood elevators. A ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters lets you take direct control of the SVR’s contagious power bands. Acceleration is revitalizing and will surely pin your passengers into the posh Oxford perforated leather seats during takeoffs.

“The Range Rover Sport SVR is a natural progression beyond the core vehicle’s outstanding on- and off-road capabilities and leading-edge design. “Its exhilarating performance will satisfy a particularly demanding customer set,” says John Edwards, Managing Director of Land Rover Special Operations.

As I drove through the picturesque scenes of Central California’s rolling hills, mountainous roads, and Pacific views the Rover kept me entertained with its InControl Touch Pro 10.2” touchscreen infotainment system, Meridian sound system, and various music applications. The Santa Ynez, Lompoc, and Santa Maria valleys are inhabited with over 220 wineries and more than 23,000 planted acres of vineyards. For lunch the media group recharged at the Niner Winery in Paso Robles where the fleet of SVOs profiled their British nobility. I enjoyed a mixed vegetable risotto and kale salad all the while admiring the Range Rover Sport SVR while it was stationary. Its aluminum body stands apart from non-SVR models with a santorini black contrast roof, prominent tailgate spoiler, black lower and rear bumpers (embedded gloss black diffuser), blacked-out headlight casings, black grille, black trapezoidal air intakes, black side vents, and black mirrors. In Addition, the Brembo brake package features large, blue calipers. Inside, SVO adorned the cabin with carbon fiber inlays, sporty metal pedals, an impressive panoramic sunroof, and the choice of four color options: ebony black, ebony black and cirrus white, ebony black and pimento red, and ebony black and tan. Seven exterior hues are available from estoril blue to the menacing firenze red I sported in Monterey for the long weekend.

A few hours after departing the winery we arrived at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in time for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to witness the unveiling of the transcendent Jaguar XE SV Project 8. We retired at The Clement Monterey Hotel, where the Range Rover Sport SVR displayed its prowess to weekend showgoers, car collectors, and enthusiasts. SVO could also be witnessed at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, along with Exotics on Cannery Row amongst the likes of fellow playmakers from Lamborghini, Bugatti, McLaren, and Bentley to name a few. JLR played their role modishly.

Aptly suited for the posh weekend, the SVO Rover intimately blends in with the high fashion, high net-worth crowd, and heavy-rolling societal environment with candor and grace. Attending Monterey Car Week should be on everyone’s bucket list. Don’t forget to include the $112,345 Range Rover Sport SVR into your equation for optimization!